SAN DIEGO — Those leading San Diego’s Climate Action Plan have continued discussions while climate activists push city leaders for more concrete timelines, benchmarks and goals within the plan.
The goal of the Climate Action Plan is to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 and fair-share reduction by 2030. The city and some climate activists are calling it “bold and ambitious.”
“To me this is a celebration day. This is not perfect, but it’s also not cast in concrete,” said Councilmember Joe LaCava, chair of the environment committee. “It is an important milestone for what we’re going to do.”
“The climate action plan has targets for 2030 and 2035, which means the city has less than 10 years to complete many of its actions. And without timelines and benchmarks, it’s really hard to know whether the climate action plan will be successful or not,” said Brenda Garcia Millan, a researcher and policy advocate with Climate Action Campaign, ahead of Thursday’s meeting during a rally outside the city administration building.
The City of San Diego’s environmental committee first voted to support this plan in July 2022, but it was brought up for discussion and input from the community Thursday.
The six strategies of the plan are:
• Strategy 1: Decarbonization of the Built Environment
• Strategy 2: Access to Clean and Renewable Energy
• Strategy 3: Mobility and Land Use
• Strategy 4: Circular Economy and Clean Communities
• Strategy 5: Resilient Infrastructure and Healthy Ecosystems
• Strategy 6: Emerging Climate Actions
Within the strategies there are 21 measures, 17 performance targets and 190 actions to reach the city’s overall goal of net-zero.
The targets within the first strategy include phasing out natural gas from existing buildings by 45% by 2030 and 90% by 2035 as well as have zero natural gas in new developments and city facilities by 2035.
The targets within the second strategy include having 100% renewable or greenhouse gas emissions electricity and converting a majority of the municipal vehicle fleet to zero emission vehicles. The second strategy also has a goal to increase the use of electric vehicles and have 16% of all miles traveled by electric vehicles by 2030 and 25% by 2035.
The third strategy of mobility and land use aims to increase and walking and cycling by implementing bicycle master plan and community bike plan networks. This third strategy also aims to increase the use of public transit up to 15% for all residents trips by 2035. By 2035, the city aims to have a 6 percent reduction in citywide vehicle miles traveled, reduce the amount of driving and install roundabouts at intersections to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
The fourth strategy aims to divert waste from landfills, increase capture of landfill methane gas and increase wastewater treatment gas capture.
The fifth strategy plan has targets to restore natural lands, including restoring 350 acres of salt marsh land by 2030 and 700 acres by 2035. The goal is to also reduce San Diego’s dependence on imported water and plant more trees with a 35% urban tree canopy cover by 2035.
In the sixth strategy of emerging climate action, the overall goal to reduce residual emissions is still in need of reducing annual emissions by 6.5 %. Those specific goals are still being worked out, according to the city’s draft document.